Ok, really starting to plan now (Italy)

May 30th, 2006, 09:59 AM
  #1  
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Ok, really starting to plan now (Italy)

I'm looking at the last two weeks of October. Come hell or highwater, I will get to Italy this time. Everytime I plan a trip, something else comes up and I end up going someplace else in Europe or somewhere else in the states. This time I am FINALLY going to visit.

Airfare: Currently is around $800. Do you think air from JFK (or EWR)-ROM will come down by then? I don't really want to book it until August anyway because I always change my itinerary and may fly open jaw (perhaps into Milan and out of Rome). Like I said, I'm planning on the last two weeks of October, but I see airfare is a bit less in November. How is the weather during the first two weeks of November?

Here's sort of the plan so far..I am a 21 year old female and will be travelling alone.

2 nights in Milan (I do want to see the Last Supper [and yes, I know i will have to book ticket prior--actually, does that hold true no matter the time of year?] and I may also visit Lugano which I have heard is very pretty)
3 nights in Florence (and perhaps a daytrip to Venice? I have to say I really don't have that much interest in visiting Venice but people keep saying it's beautiful...)
4 nights in Rome
2 nights in Naples (and a day in Pompeii)
2 more nights in Rome and fly home from there (i actually like breaking up trips like this..for example, I have spent four days in London, gone to Paris for a few days and then spent a few more days in London..nice excuse for a hotel change, to experience another part of the city)

I will likely stay in hostels in Naples and Milan to save some money (a female only room WITH a curfew--I learned my lesson on that by spending the night in a 12 bed co-ed room with no curfew in Amsterdam's red light district. Never again!), and spend part of my time in Rome staying at a convent. The rest of the time I will look for hotels. Does anyone have any recommendations in Florence and Rome? My budget will be under $200 a night--SAFE, with a private bathroom and a lift is all I ask for!! With a balcony even better. In Rome I'm interested in Trastevere, and in Florence I'm not quite sure where I'd like to stay. Open to suggestions! As for the hostels I'll try a different board for that..I've been around Fodors long enough to know how it works around here! LOL

I am not a "party girl" and really don't care about bars and clubs; I love museums, food, historical sights, fashion..really I just love to absorb local culture wherever I am and learn about how other people live..that's definitely one of the main reasons I travel (this will be my 7th trip to Europe in two years!)

Any tips or thoughts anyone feels like throwing my way is more than welcomed..you've all been very helpful to me in the past--

Christine

MissZiegfeld is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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Everyhting I have read recently indicates that air fares are NOT going to come down as they have, in fact, been slowly rising. Unless you can wait for a sale and hope your travel dates are included I would consider getting the airfare, paying for it, and move on to other planning aspects.

NOBODY here knows when there will BE a sale..they can only "report" what has happened in the past.
Intrepid1 is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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Thank you, Intrepid--yes, I know nobody can know for sure when there will be a sale (Im a former flight attendant), but I figured people here would know what it's been like in previous years..
MissZiegfeld is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Sounds like a lot of fun, but I do have one question. You say that you're 21 and a former flight attendant. What age were you when you were a flight attendant? It's a total curiosity question!! Mike
barbmike is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Hi Mike, it's ok, I get that question a lot! I was 19 when I was hired. Some airlines require you to be 21, others 19. I was the youngest person in my entire airline! I loved it but left when I was offered a much higher paying job (literally four times as much money
--and i don't earn that much! flight attendants are very, very underpaid)..I do miss it though!!
MissZiegfeld is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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MissZiegfeld,

(Great screenname, by the way!) Just to echo what Intrepid has already said, I recently read an article suggesting that the only way airfares are going to go is up, so if you find something halfway decent now, I'd grab it after doing one last check on the airfare websites like FARECOMPARE.com.

In Florence, I'd recommend TOURIST HOUSE GHIBERTI, which is just behind the Duomo. I don't know it from personal experience yet, but researched it carefully for my daughter's upcoming trip this July. The hotel has gotten nothing but raves online- here and on tripadvisor ( if you believe that stuff!). I do know that it's an excellent location- very walkable to most of the major sights, and in a very interesting neighborhood.

Have a wonderful trip!
Weadles is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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In Florence check out Hotel Casci.
MFNYC is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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Check this thread for airfares, etc: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34796928

We will be in Italy this August & based on recommendations from people on this forum, are staying at Hotel Miami in Rome (http://www.hotelmiami.com/) and Hotel David in Florence (http://www.davidhotel.it/en/)
stembe is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 02:25 PM
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Hi Miss Z,

I think that airfare sounds quite good considering how the prices have been going. I think you should book it NOW - then you will be commited to the trip and you will actually go.

PS - It if were me, I would only spend 1 night in Milan, see the Last Supper and head for Venice for 2 nights. Cut Florence or Rome by 1 night to get this night. You never know what you'll enjoy and Venice may surprise you!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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I think you should either skip Venice entirely or spend at least two nights there.

I don't know if you can find a suitable hostel in Milano or Napoli. I love both cities, but they are, unfortunately, two of the cities in Italy where the cost of a room is directly tied to the safety of a room. Don't try to skimp too low in either city on accommodations. Do not stay in any place for which you have not read multiple good recommendations about safety and cleanliness.

Given your itinerary, I think the first two weeks in November should be just fine.

Lake views are pretty, but I do not think Lugano is worth a visit on such a short trip. I would add that day to Firenze/Tuscany and try to see something of the Tuscan countryside or a smaller Tuscan town.

buon viaggio!
nessundorma is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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I agree with the above, you should just book it now as prices are indeed going up. I am glad I pulled the trigger and bought my tickets for october when I did, as prices have continually been rising. good luck!
butter924 is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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MissZiegfeld
I also broke up a trip to Italy last spring with 3 nights in Rome with friends in one place and then 2 nights again in Rome by myself at the end of the trip in another place. I like doing that, too!

We didn't stay in this women's hostel in Rome (we had a guy with us!) but it sounds interesting. It is run by an international women's group and is called Orsa Maggiore. It is in Trastevere.
www.casainternazionaledelledonne.org

It has singles, doubles, triples and dorms and you can have a room w/ or w/o bath, I believe. I don't think there is a curfew. It has a cafe on site.

The only problem, as I recall, was that you had to wire them a deposit as they didn't take credit cards. That was last spring, so who knows, maybe they do now.

Have fun!
annabelle2 is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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thank you, nessundorma--I had a feeling it might be better to stay in a "nicer" hotel in Naples, but I didn't realize the same was true for Milan! That's really good to know.

Thank you everyone else for air/hotel advice--Im going to look at those hotels and book my airfare ASAP!
MissZiegfeld is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 06:18 PM
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Miss Z,

I meant to say get 2 nights in Venice, taking 1 night from Milan and 1 night from either Florence or Rome (I would cut Florence).

I stayed in a very nice hotel in a good neighborhood in Naples. The Hotel Pinto Storey had a single room for 85E/night in Sept. They had already turned off the A/C, so I paid 11E to have it on. Double-paned windows kept things quiet, but the hotel is on the 4th floor of a historic building in the Chiaia district (I can never remember how to spell that). Great location, right on the Piazza Amadeus where there is a meto stop. Super easy right from Napoli Centrale station. You can find them on venere.com.

Dayle is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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Thanks for the tip on the Naples hotel, Dayle, that sounds great! Just curious, why would you recommend Venice over Florence?
MissZiegfeld is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Nothing wrong with Florence, I just wouldn't skip Venice entirely to spend 3 nights in Florence. Of all the places I have visited in Italy, Florence is my least favorite.

My impressions were extremely crowded, noisy, vespas galore. That said, I went for the art and the sites and loved that! Just didn't care for the city itself. I would go back, but I would stay outside the city and probably try Friesole based on comments from the board here.

On a short trip like yours, I would only spend 1 or 2 nights max to see the Florence highlights - so I could spend a couple nights in Venice.
Dayle is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 08:03 AM
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As far as the weather goes during your trip- pack light! It's still warm that time of year in Rome. I remember wearing shorts at Thanksgiving time when I was there studying abroad.
mamaj is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 11:40 AM
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Just to give you a different subjective perspective than that of Dayle's, I would say that since you've no independent interest in seeing Venice that you not let yourself be talked into it by others. For many people, Venice is among their highlights of their travels in Itay and they understandably urge others to consider it a "must-see" at the expense of other destinations in Italy.

But quite a few vistoris to Venice are less enamoured with it -- often because of the predominance of English-speaking tourists, very high hotel and food costs, mediocre restaurants, etc -- and find that Venice compares poorly with their other treasured experiences of Italy.

I happen to like both cities for different reasons. While Venice has its indestructible beauty and past, Firenze is simply jammed with unforgettable art and architecture while at the same time being a thriving Tuscan capital of great modern sophistication and style.

In either October or November, crowds should not be overwhelming in either place. But I do think that you should save Venice for another trip to Italy unless you spend several days there. It's not really a "day trip" city.
nessundorma is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 12:12 PM
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We loved Florence! It was a great city to wander in and to see art. I would take time from Rome and add it to Tuscany. Rome has some great things to see, but is a really big city and feels like it. We were there about 10 years ago, but seeing police with rifles on the corners was a turn off.

Actually we may be in Italy the same time,so the info you are getting is of great interest to us. Maybe we will even cross paths!

We were wondering about the weather in Italy the last two weeks of October. And if anyone had any recommendations for villas in Tuscany, near Florence. Also, would one have to have a car to do that or can we do it just using trains, taxis?

I will be looking at airfare now, too. Thanks!
Honeybear is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:32 PM
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Four of us stayed at the Hotel Casci in Florence in '04 and I would definitely stay there again. You won't have a balcony, but you will have a large room with a private bath, a great breakfast, very friendly hosts, a LIFT, and an incredible location--a block and a half from the Duomo. I think we paid about $140 US per night for a nice double room. It doesn't look like much from street level--the hotel actually begins on the 2nd floor--but there IS a lift!

I can't help you with the Florence vs Venice quandry--I'll be seeing Venice for the first time this summer. But I absolutely love Florence, and I've only been there during the heavy tourist season.

Buona Fortuna!
PDersch is offline  

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